The Texture Of A Cigar Ash

What we have in the picture is a toothpick, a pair of hands and the final third of my Juan Lopez Seleccion No 2 cigar.  First I have to tell you that the first two thirds of this robusto were spicy and peppery with a smooth creamy finish that made me wonder what old school Havana cigars tasted like and if this Lopez, in some way, resembled the cigars of years gone by.  Not sure what this cigar’s profile will reveal yet.. I’ll let you know in a post down the road.

The reason why I have a toothpick in my hand is because I’ll probably use it when the cigar gets too short to hold with my fingers..  I’ll stab the nub of the cigar and hold it that way as I smoke it down to the final quarter inch..  They taste great all the way down.. Yeah yeah, I’m a fanatic, what can I say!

Another thing I like to do with a toothpick is to gently stab away at the ash when I sense that its going to fall off and see if I can take control of the cigar ash’s length and reduce it to a reasonable length so I can keep the flame cool.  A cooler flame results in a cigar’s flavors to be far superior than a bare red hot cone showing after the ash has fallen onto whatever it is I’m wearing that day.  yeah yeah, I’m a fanatic, what can I say.

Here is where you can learn a little bit about the filler used in the production of a cigar and the different consistencies the ash has.. The ligero leaves, in the ash, will feel very crispy and a bit troublesome to eliminate while the seco and volado leaves leave a soft, slightly crumbly ash that falls away very easily.. I didn’t really think about a cigar ash’s consistency until I tried this process.. I was reminded that there are more minerals in the ligero because of their place in the tobacco plant up at the top.  These leaves get a lot of direct sunlight and the plant helpes those leaves by sending more minerals to the top of the plant to help it cope with the sun’s intensity..

Try this sometime but be patient because a longish ash tends to fall away very easily and you have to wait a spell for the ash to gain some length and for the flame to cool….. I have the most trouble at red lights with both hands out the window.. If you ever see me in traffic doing this you’ll know what I’m up to… The rest of the non-cigar smoking civilians out there on the road simply think I’m crazy..  But you know different, don’t you.. Don’t you?????

Lovely H. Upmann Coronas Minor

This particular H. Upmann Coronas Minor was rolled July ’08 and whatever they were doing that month, I wish they could do it all of the time.  I bought these at the duty free in the Jose Marti airport just out of Havana on our way home to Vancouver.. They were really affordable, easy to carry on board and when I got home, after tasting the first one, I shed many tears for not buying more of them..

The factory name for this cigar, ring gauge 40 and 4.6 inches long, is a coronitas.  I am also a fan of the junior and have smoked many of them but I thought I’d try the Coronas minor and I’m very glad I did.  This cigar tends to be a bit smoother than the junior but thats not to say that this doesn’t have the spice that is very present in the junior.  Some would argue and say that the junior is one that many prefer but then you’d be talking apples and oranges here..

The Coronas Minor , in this case a Tubos, you get slight hints of honey and a beautiful toasted tobacco flavor.  The 45 minutes to one hour it takes to smoke this little cigar gives you a great medium strength smoke that has the most beautiful room aroma.. This is REAL Havana.. It is quick and convenient, the tube is a big plus for going out at night and, once again, the price will keep you coming back!!

Montecristo- A Cuban Legend !!!

For all of the entries I’ve written for this blog, it has occurred to me that I haven’t really spent as much time on Montecristo Cuban cigars as I could have.. I guess it may have something to do with the fact that these are one of the most popular cigars in the world and I assume that everyone knows all about them… I’ve certainly smoked many of them and have had some of the greatest smoking experiences with a Monte in my hand but, when I think of it, there are probably some folks who have yet to try one.

First of all, make sure that you have an authentic Monte since these are counterfeited in Cuba and sold in packaging that looks like the real thing with bands that will fool even the most experienced aficionado…  The Montecristo No 2 is copied and sold to many many tourists who visit Cuba each year but these are some terrible tasting cigars that in no way resemble the real thing.  The No 2 is a beautiful torpedo measuring 6 1/8 inches long with a 52 ring gauge.  It feels great in the hand and is one of the most consistent cigars coming out of Cuba today.  A few years back it was so popular that every cigar factory in Cuba was pushing them out to keep up with world demand but the consistency and quality took a bit of a dive and Habanos took a brave stand and cut back on production so the quality of years gone by would return.

The Montecristo No 4 is a legend in itself.  This 5 inch cigar with a 42 ring gauge is THE most popular Cuban cigar period!!  It probably has something to do with the size, definitely has something to do with the taste and anyone who knows anything about Montecristo will be able to tell you great stories about the No 4’s they’ve smoked..

A few years back in 2008 Monte came out with an Edicion Limitada called the Sublime.  This was, for me, Montecristo raising the bar for flavor and construction that impressed lovers of Cuban cigars the world over.. This is a very difficult cigar to find these days, if you have a few in your humidor, you are a very lucky smoker indeed.

Other Montecristo staples are the Edmundo, a classic robusto that improves GREATLY with a few years in the humidor.  The tubos are a smaller ring gauge cigar that is great for a day out on the boat or the golf cart.. I guess the grandfather of them all would be the Montecristo A.. With a 47 ring gauge and 9 1/4 inches long, you’ll be enjoying over 2 hours of smoking bliss with medium Montecristo flavors that will dazzle you from third to third..

A bold move taken a few years back from Montecristo, was to come out with their Open Series.  This featured cigars that were considerably milder and that were targeting the new smoker who wanted a mellower smoke.  There are 4 sizes available but my favorite is the Montecristo Open Regata with a sweet and slightly fruity profile that is a great morning cigar..

A lot more can be written today about Montecristo but I’ll save it for another entry.. There are new cigars from Montecristo introduced this year at Havana’s Habanos Festival and after I get my hands on one, I’ll write a review.

Cohiba Siglo V

This morning I was given 2 of these beautiful Cohiba Siglo V tubos from a friend that just came back from Havana..  My buddy has been smoking cigars for years and knows the difference between the real thing and something you buy off the street from someone offering a deal thats too good to be true.  We’ve smoked many a Cuban together and so I offered him an espresso and talked him into spending an hour on the deck so we could light a couple of these up and enjoy the sunshine.  Yes, believe it or not, we DO get the odd sunny day in vancouver at this time of year.

This lonsdale whose factory name is a dalia is 6.6 inches long and has a ring gauge of 43.  Although a bit young, this cigar was a lot smoother than I had expected and upon lighting revealed the usual Cohiba spice and grassiness.. For the most part, I like to smoke a Cohiba at the end of the day after a big meal and often paired with a dark Havana Club but the Siglo series is a tad milder and can be smoked first thing in the morning..

I kept the flame cool and found that chocolate and vanilla were present throughout the whole cigar.  I kept thinking that letting this elegant long cigar age for at least a year would result in a considerably smoother smoking experience but was struck with the mild Cohiba flavors.  I was most of all impressed with the fact that maybe this Tubos might even have a nicer taste than the cabinet Siglo V’s I’ve smoked in the past.  Could be something to do with the fact that it is surrounded by it’s own cedar strip in the tube and the cigar’s complete isolation.

The second Siglo V I was given this morning will NOT see a flame for at least a year.. This one tasted great but I know my patience will be hugely rewarded.